Tigers:   World's  Largest  Cat

(C) A. Lopez  1/11

BEHAVIOR/  HOMELAND/  HABITAT:
 
                  This big cat leads a solitary life.  An adult occupies a home territory but does not hold it exclusively.  It is constantly on the move in search of prey.  Females may roam over a home range as small as 8 square miles or up to 200 square miles.  Males usually occupy an even larger range.  They live in parts of India,  Nepal,  Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma,  Thailand,  Vietnam,  Amur,  and it is thought, China.  They live in a variety of habitats including tropical forests, mangrove swamps,  and mountain forests.  They also live in grasslands and in snow in  Amur.  Tigers prefer to live among trees and rarely climb them.  They use trees to conceal themselves while stalking or use them to escape heat during the twilight hours.  Water is very important to them!  They love to cool off in a stream or waterfall.  They are excellent swimmers. The tiger roars when calling for their mate.  They also use a "chuffing" sound which is their greeting  and is unique to the tiger.
 
 
APPEARANCE/  SIZE:

(C) A. Lopez
 
                The tiger is the largest of all big cats.  An Amur male may weigh up to 800 pounds and reach a length of 13 feet.  Usually tigers are smaller and males may weigh from 440 to 595 pounds and females may weigh from 275 to 355 pounds.  It  has a massive build, powerful legs, and a long muscular body.  It is the only one with stripes and these run vertically over a dark orange or reddish coat. These stripes may be black, gray, or brown.  All stripes are different on each animal, like fingerprints.  Stripes are imprinted on skin, only seen if the fur is shaved.  The undersides are white or cream color.  There are "white" tigers with grey, brown or black stripes. There are also pure white ones as well.  These are not albinos and they have blue eyes.   "Black" tigers have been  reported but this has not been completely confirmed.  I have seen one picture on the internet,  but it wasn't  solid black.  It was "psuedo-melanistic." Its stripes were so close together that the background was barely visible.  It was mentioned in one tiger book that perhaps these reports of black tigers are of  those  that  have recently fed on a kill and they were completely covered in blood.  Blood sometimes dries into a black color.....  The possibility of there being a black tiger roaming the forests would be  a truly magnificent sight!  There are also "tabby" colored tigers which are very beautiful animals!  This is a rare coloration in which the tiger is a light golden brown with a lot of white areas around the body with brown stripes.  There have also been reports of "blue tigers." These have slate grey or black stripes on a grey body.  The tiger is an already beautiful animal and these variations make it an even more special creature........


(C) R. Schmode

DIET/  HUNTING  STYLE:
 
           Tigers feed on whatever large prey they can catch.  Their diet includes buffalo, deer,  pigs,  gaur,  and domestic livestock.  They are also known to include man in their diet as well.  They use the stalk and ambush method when getting their meals.  They approach cautiously, hiding behind small bushes or rocks.  The tiger moves slowly forward and when they are 30 to 60 feet from their prey, they rush forward.  The initial contact with their prey is usually on its hindquarters and this usually knocks it down or  causes it to be unbalanced.  This gives the tiger a chance to make the kill with either a bite to the back of the neck or to the throat. One in twenty stalks are usually successful. They can haul up to 1,000 pounds. Searching for food consumes much of a tiger's life. Most hunt alone over familiar paths.  A female tiger's territory is smaller then the males. A male tiger's territory may overlap the hunting territory of the females. They hunt primarily at dawn or at dusk when it's cooler. Although true, a female or older or injured tiger may hunt at any time during the day. Once a kill has been made, a tiger may linger around it for 2 - 7 days (especially if the kill is 300 pounds....).    
 

(C) R. Schmode
 
 
REPRODUCTION:
 
              They can breed year round but most frequently between the months of November to April.  The female has a gestation between 95 to 110 days and 2 to 3 cubs are born.  They are born blind and helpless and depend on their mother's milk for the first  8  weeks.  They then feed on her kills soon afterwards.  They usually go off on their own at two years.  Groups of youngsters may stay together  for awhile after leaving their mother.

 

Subspecies:
 
               Eight subspecies once existed.  The ones now extinct are the Bali tiger, Java tiger, and the Caspian tiger.  The ones still in existence are the Bengal tiger,  the Indochinese tiger,  the Chinese tiger, Amur tiger, and the Sumatran tiger.  These are all considered to be highly endangered.  The largest of them all are the Amur and these usually have a lighter coat then the rest. Although conservation efforts have been under way for some time for these big cats, they are still being hunted for their beautiful coats. Another problem is much of their body parts play a key role in traditional Asian medicine and large numbers are being killed.  I  just hope we never see the day when the "last"  tiger  lives in a  lonely zoo exhibit........
 

(C) R. Schmode
 
Social?
 
Tigers may be more social then once thought. Because tigers hunt so much at night, nocturnal meetings along territorial boundaries are inevitable. It has been observed (by biologist George Schaller) that a large male often mingled easily with females. He once saw this male share a kill with two tigresses and four cubs. The females made no effort to keep the cubs away from the male. They were observed climbing all over him.
 
Beautiful  Raja  (C) 1/11

RESOURCES I HAVE USED AND ALL RIGHTS RESERVED AND ACKNOWLEDGED. ALL TEXT COPYRIGHT MATERIAL. NONPROFIT EDUCATIONAL SITE ONLY:

Lumpkin, Susan and Seidensticker, John. 1991. Great Cats Majestic Creatures of the Wild. Rodale Press, Pa. Pg. 33  and pages 94 and 95.
 
The Nature Company. 1996.  Clan  of  the Wildcats.  A Walking Stick Press Book.  Pgs  28 and  29.
 
Bauer, Edwin A. 2003. The Last Big Cats. Voyageur Press, Inc., MN


(C) R. Schmode


(C)  R. Schmode   
 

   
  (C) A. Lopez

              
                                     (C) S. Reis                                                  (C)  A.  Lopez  2/06


Raja Tiger (C) A. Lopez

 

  

 


(C) Lisa Purcell

 

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